Little Lord Fauntleroy
is a 1936 drama film
based on the novel of the same name
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
. It starred Freddie Bartholomew
, C. Aubrey Smith
, and Dolores Costello
. Now, in public domain
'Ceddie' Erroll (Freddie Bartholomew) and his widowed mother 'Dearest' (Dolores Costello) struggle to make ends meet in 1880s Brooklyn
after the death of his father. Ceddie's prejudiced English grandfather, the Earl of Dorincourt (C. Aubrey Smith), had disowned his son for marrying a despised American. However, the wealthy earl has Ceddie brought to England as his heir. 'Dearest' accompanies her son, but is not allowed to live at the family castle. For Ceddie's happiness, she does not tell him it is because of his grandfather's bigotry.
Ceddie is uncomfortable as an English aristocrat, but soon wins the hearts of his stern grandfather and everyone else. Then, a woman named Minna Tipton (Helen Flint) shows up, claiming to be the widow of the earl's eldest son, and that therefore her unlikeable son Tom (Jackie Searl) is the real heir. Heartbroken, the earl agrees.
Fortunately for Ceddie, his American friend Dick Tipton (Mickey Rooney) reads about it in the newspaper and recognizes his sister-in-law. He takes his brother, Minna's husband, to England to disprove Minna's story. Vastly relieved, the earl agrees to Ceddie's plea to reconcile with his mother.